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Divorce

Divorce Attorney In Westport, CT

Divorce Lawyers in Westport provide trustworthy advice about how to file for divorce in Connecticut

If you have decided to dissolve your marriage, or if your spouse has served you with divorce papers, you are probably wondering, “What happens now?” The Westport divorce attorneys at Needle | Cuda understand your concerns and want to set your mind at ease. By working closely with you, we can develop a plan tailored for you that is effective in resolving points of conflict on favorable terms. Whether your circumstances necessitate a non-adversarial divorce to put your marriage behind you, a meticulous analysis of your assets to protect your property rights or aggressive litigation to preserve your parental rights, our experienced and knowledgeable Connecticut divorce attorneys work with you to pursue these goals.

How to file for divorce in Connecticut: Key elements in a Connecticut divorce action

A divorce matter (the dissolution of a marriage) requires resolution of three main components between the parties before an agreement can be presented before a family court on behalf of the parties:

  • Child custody
  • Asset/property division
  • Disposition of income

Child custody (when applicable) includes physical custody and legal custody. Needle | Cuda has extensive experience resolving all kinds of child custody disputes (e.g. visitation, education, travel, religious education, medical/healthcare, relocation and COVID-19 related welfare concerns) and can skillfully negotiate and define an enforceable, long-term parenting plan that works for you, your children and your life.

We represent parents in child custody disputes arising during and after divorce and in connection with paternity matters. We understand the importance of your relationship with your children as well as your concern for their health and welfare. We work tirelessly to protect your parental rights consistent with your children’s best interests.

We represent parents in disputes over visitation and parenting plans, including allegations of interference and parental alienation. We also represent third parties, such as grandparents and siblings, seeking visitation with a child.

Needle | Cuda also handles unique and highly nuanced issues related to child custody, visitation, and parental rights in same-sex marriages concerning the legal and physical custody rights of both biological and non-biological parents.

Asset/property division involves a detailed accounting process through which the marital assets are both identified and valued so that an agreement may be formed to divide and distribute them. Assets typically include: real estate, investment accounts, retirement accounts, 401(k) plans, annuities, ownership interests in family and/or closely held businesses and other types of complex property ownership (e.g. intellectual property, artwork and antiques). Division of property may also include assets owned before the marriage, assets inherited (before or during the marriage) or assets held in trust, although each of these categories may require a more detailed analysis.

Needle | Cuda works extensively with a network of experienced valuation experts, accounting professionals and subject matter specialists who can be called upon to complete complex property and business valuations that are unique to your situation.

Income has two subsets, alimony and child support. Child support is often relatively straightforward as its rules and amounts are subject to an income-driven model set by state guidelines. However, there are various situations that may call for a deviation from the guidelines, such as where the income of the parties exceeds the guidelines and therefore requires more evidence of what is the appropriate child support award. Alimony is usually more complex as it involves consideration of multiple factors, such as length of the marriage, earning capacity and the contributions of each spouse during the course marriage. There are no guidelines for alimony. Often complicating the picture is income derived from ownership of a business. It may be necessary to differentiate income that is related to asset ownership/investment from income earned through employment at the business. Needle | Cuda has extensive experience negotiating these complex issues, especially on behalf of its high net worth clients.

The Best Divorce Attorneys in Connecticut for Complex Divorce, Child Custody, and Business Valuations specialize in CT Family Law

Divorce can get complicated, requiring negotiated solutions and sometimes aggressive litigation. The complex issues we manage include:

  • High-net-worth divorce — When the financial stakes are high, you need a skilled legal advocate to uphold your rights. We have vast experience with high-net-worth divorces, so you can trust us to advocate for a fair valuation and division of assets in your case.
  • Earning capacity — When a parent is determined to be voluntarily unemployed or underemployed without a good faith reason, or for the reason of avoiding paying support, the court may be authorized to impute income based on an “earning capacity.” When determining the earning capacity of a spouse, the court may consider a wide range of factors, including but not limited to earnings history, educational background, work experience, special skills, age, medical history and disabilities.
  • Relocation — A conflict can arise when a parent seeks to move out of the state with the children or at a distance that makes regular joint custody or visitation impossible. In relocation disputes, we work to find creative solutions that advance your children’s best interests and also safeguard your parental rights.

No divorce-related issue is too complex for our accomplished legal team to tackle.

Learn about the divorce process in CT by consulting Needle | Cuda’s experienced Westport Family Lawyers and Divorce Attorneys

When choosing a lawyer, there is no substitute for experience. At Needle | Cuda, the range and depth of our longstanding family law practice enables us to adapt and shift tactics whenever circumstances require, so you can trust our advocacy even if your divorce takes an unexpected turn. We are also proud of our reputation for providing compassionate client service and highly professional representation.

Your First Meeting with Us. Let us answer your questions about filing for divorce in CT and how CT divorce law can impact your unique situation

Filing for divorce — known as dissolution of marriage in Connecticut — requires meeting certain residency requirements. Generally, one spouse must have been a resident of Connecticut for at least 12 months before filing for divorce or must have at least have resided in Connecticut for the 12 months before the court enters a final decree. However, there are exceptions, such as where either spouse moved for a time out of state and then returned with the intent to be a permanent resident, or where the cause of the divorce arose after either party moved to Connecticut.

A divorce is subject to a 90-day waiting period that begins on the return date — the date by which divorce papers are served and also filed with the court. However, the waiting period can be waived in certain circumstances.

There are three basic routes to divorce:

  • Non-adversarial divorce — This simplified process allows couples to avoid the 90-day waiting period and dissolve their marriage without ever seeing a judge. It is available to couples married less than 10 years who do not have or expect children, do not own real estate and have total assets worth less than $80,000. There are certain other conditions that must also be met.
  • Divorce with an agreement — Couples who are not eligible for a non-adversarial divorce but who can come to terms on essential issues can obtain an uncontested divorce. By agreement, the spouses can waive the 90-day waiting period, although the divorce may also be entered by agreement long after the 90-day waiting period has expired if need be. Parents of minor children must also attend a parenting education program.
  • Divorce without an agreement — Couples who are unable to settle the issues between them must go to court for a contested divorce. After a trial, the court rules on all essential issues and dissolves the marriage.

Couples who want to divorce by agreement generally choose no-fault grounds, asserting that the marital relationship is irretrievably broken. In divorces without an agreement, there may be strategic or personal reasons to allege traditional grounds for divorce, such as abandonment, adultery or intolerable cruelty.

Your first meeting with us

At your initial consultation, we try to get a clear idea of your current situation and your goals for the future. We may ask you to bring certain documents, such as tax returns, account records and evidence of your household income. By taking the time to thoroughly understand your situation — your reasons for ending your marriage, your financial and parental concerns and your objectives for life after your marriage ends — we can answer your questions and present your options in a way that provides you with a comprehensive picture of the divorce process and its potential complications and outcomes.

Contact our Westport, CT divorce lawyers for savvy and straightforward legal counsel

If you are going through a divorce in Fairfield County, Needle | Cuda is ready to help. We provide highly responsive service and effective representation focused on positive results. To arrange a consultation, call us today at 203-429-4151 or contact our Westport office online.

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